Date Published: July 1, 2021
Publisher: BQB Publishing
China hungers to take the United States’ place as the global hegemon.
And it is plotting to use America’s $40 trillion national debt to do it.
Only one person stands in China’s way: suburban accountant Andrea Gartner.
For years she has dreaded the day of America’s reckoning about its national debt. She’s gotten involved in local politics. She’s run for Congress. But the debt marches remorselessly higher.
Rejected by her party in her congressional race, she joins the insurgent presidential campaign of Congressman Earl Murray. When he wins in an upset, he defies all Washington convention and names Andrea his Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The Washington rookie finally has her chance to solve America’s debt addition.
But China has other plans, engineering financial crises and military confrontations designed to bankrupt and collapse the United States. Wars rage overseas as America’s health care system, schools, and social fabric disintegrate. Desperately coping with these existential threats to America’s very existence, Andrea finds herself enmeshed in vicious Washington infighting with belligerent military brass and ruthless politicians, including the powerful and complicated Congressman Lewis Mason and his chief of staff Frank Palmer. Chinese agents lurk in the shadows, threatening Andrea’s life and family, as she struggles to keep the country afloat.
No aspect of American life is spared as the country teeters on the brink of financial collapse. Can Andrea stave off China’s assault and ensure the United States survives? Or will the Red Chinese flag fly over the American Capitol?
Debt Bomb is a sobering fictional account of a future facing the United States if it fails to control its debt and get its financial house in order.
“Andrea Gartner, South Carolina. Why are you running? And why should we endorse you?”
Andrea hesitated and took a sip of water, followed by a deep breath to steady her nerves. She leaned into her microphone.
“That’s a fair question, Congressman Mason. I’ve been a leader in the South Carolina Republican Party for years,” she said, unnerved by the entire Debt Rebel Gang staring down at her. She couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. They were nothing like what she practiced. “This is my first time running, but I’ve gotten a lot of campaign experience from my leadership positions in the local and state party organizations. Professionally, I’m an accountant with a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve been in private practice for fifteen years and I’ve been married for ten years with two children . . .”
She could see from the Gang members’ bored expressions she was getting nowhere. She took another sip of water. You’ve got this, she told herself. Stay focused. She felt a wave of control, of inspiration, of her spine stiffening. She took a breath. Now she was ready.
“Mr. Mason, Gang members, honestly, I’m running for one reason only.” Her voice was firm now. “The United States is utterly dependent on members of the public and foreign countries to buy our debt. If they decide they don’t want to loan us money and we can’t finance our debt, the country goes broke. We won’t have a dime to spend. No Social Security. No Medicare. This thought terrifies me. And we’re doing this on the backs of our kids and grandkids. If we don’t cut our deficits and pay down our national debt, they will be paying for all the things we’re spending money on now. No one is speaking for them. I want to be their voice. Believe me, Congressmen, I have lived this. My father died when I was young and left my family in a pile of debt. I don’t want other families to go through the same hardships. This country needs financial help. I have two kids at home, and I’ll be damned if I saddle them with debt they have to pay tomorrow so I can get free government goodies today. There is nothing—absolutely nothing—I hate in this world more than ruinous debt.” Andrea began gesticulating for emphasis as she built momentum. “You’re the only people who have raised this issue. You inspired me to run. I’m an accountant. Balancing books is what I do. With me on your side you’ll have as credible an ally for debt reduction as you can possibly imagine.”
The Gang members had no reaction whatsoever.
What am I doing wrong? she wondered. Cutting the debt is these guys’ calling card. Their raison d’être. What gives? Keep going. Maybe they’ll come around.
“Congressmen, if you—”
“Thank you, Ms. Gartner, but I’m afraid we can’t endorse you this election cycle,” interrupted Mason.
The words sent a shock through Andrea’s body. She’d barely gotten two minutes to state her case and the Debt Rebel Gang had already rejected her. And the way Mason emotionlessly dismissed her only added to the shock. All those years of helping candidates who were worried about the debt, and she got three sentences in before these guys rejected her?
“Come again?” Andrea said.
“We’re endorsing Dan Morgan.”
Seriously? Dan Morgan? That ridiculous opportunist?
She’d known Dan Morgan from her local Republican work.
When cutting spending was all the rage, Dan Morgan was a deficit cutter. When Republican-controlled Congresses were spending like drunken sailors but conservatism demanded absolute support for President Roberts, Morgan was there. You could always count on Dan Morgan to get a double dip of the Republican flavor of the month.
Ryan and Cam were right. Politics was a dirty business. And once again, she’d gotten the short end of the stick.
Mason continued, “Dan Morgan has been an unwavering supporter of the Roberts Agenda. You spent your time blasting the debts and the deficits at a time when President Roberts needed all the support he could get. We need a team player, not a Johnny-one-note. Dan’s reliable. You aren’t.”
“But reducing the debt was your signature issue. You all inspired me to get active and fight to reduce spending and debt. I’m here because of you,” Andrea said, her voice rising to a crescendo. “I’m an accountant, and what America needs right now is an accountant!”
Michael E. Ginsberg is an attorney in Washington, DC practicing in the field of national security law. He spent a decade in private practice at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC and then worked several years in the U.S. government as a Senior Associate General Counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), where he served as legal counsel for the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). He currently is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at a Virginia-based defense contractor.
Ginsberg has also served in senior leadership positions in the Republican Party of Virginia and is the co-founder of the Suburban Virginia Republican Coalition.
A 1997 graduate of Harvard College and 2002 graduate of Harvard Law School, he also holds a master's in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University (1999). A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Ginsberg lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.